Vol. 1, No. 4, Feb. 8, 1999
© Copyright 1999 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
I think of this process as "taking the wine apart" to analyze it piece by piece. But before you're through, you'll want to put it back together again. You've gotten close to the wine, comparing its colors to jewels and precious metals ... sticking your nose in the glass to inhale its essense ... swished, swirled and gargled it to reach every part of your palate and touch every taste bud.
Now, swallow (or spit, if you're tasting a lot, or driving), and sit back and think. Note the aftertaste (or "finish"), the taste left in your mouth after the wine is gone. The finish may be similar to or different from the first taste ("attack") and in-between ("middle of the palate"). Think about the wine. Take another taste. Put the pieces together and try to reach an overall conclusion about what you think of the wine. Can you place it in your mental filing cabinet alongside similar wines you've tried, wines from the same general region or made from the same grape? Finally, there's no better way to finish up than to enjoy the rest of your glass with dinner. Wine, after all, was made to go with food.
I highly recommend this process as a way to build your palate's memory; and the more wines you learn, the easier -- and more enjoyable -- it will be for you to evaluate the next wine you try. Better still, when you go through this tasting process, write it down. We have a number of tasting forms available in the Wine Tasting Toolbox, but all you really need is a notebook -- divide a page in quarters, and in each section note your observations about the wine's appearance, aroma, flavor and overall impression, taking special note of how well the wine went with your dinner. Hang onto this "tasting log" for future reference. While you can certainly keep it as private as a diary, we'd be delighted to have you share your reports in our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group.
Melini 1996 Borghi d'Elsa Chianti ($9.49)
FOOD MATCH: Sausage pizza.
Boscaini 1997 San Ciriaco Valpolicella Classico ($14.99)
FOOD MATCH: Anchovy and black-olive pizza.
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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
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